Homeowners Association Problems: Dealing with an Overbearing HOA

Are you dealing with Homeowners Association problems? If so, you need to know the following:

  1. The HOAs Rights
  2. Your Homeowners Rights
  3. Arizona Laws governing Homeowners associations
  4. How to replace an overbearing HOA
  5. Getting Legal Advice to Deal with an HOA

HOA Rights

Homeowners Associations have the right to govern some community rules. However, there are state and federal laws restricting what they can do.

HOA’s Have the Right To:

  1. Set reasonable rules that comply with local and federal law
  2. Impose financial penalties for non-compliance
  3. Collect unpaid fees
  4. File lawsuits against defaulting owners
  5. Enforce the governing documents

More importantly, homeowners have certain rights. It’s important to know your rights when dealing with an overbearing HOA.

Homeowners Rights

As an owner, you have the right to:

  1. Have free access to your own property
  2. Fair treatment (non-discrimination)
  3. Call for the enforcement of the governing documents
  4. Review the HOA’s Records. Including annual budgets; meeting minutes; vendor contracts; tax returns; membership lists; and financial statements.
  5. Be a part of hiring or calling for a competent, responsive, transparent and, accountable HOA board.
  6. Be a part of community governance, by volunteering, attending and speaking at meetings. Or by joining or being elected to the board.
  7. Appeal decisions of the HOA when provided with notice of an alleged violation.
  8. Modify your property for access for people with disabilities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  9. Display the American Flag on your property.

These two lists are not all-inclusive. Homeowners and HOA’s may have other rights granted to them by law.

Arizona Laws governing homeowners associations

You should learn what the laws are governing the conduct of associations.

If you review the statutes found online, starting at A.R.S. §33-1801. You will probably see statutes and regulations that your association is violating. 

On our legal resources page, we have links to various state and county websites along with a link to the complete A.R.S.

Some of the highlights of these statutes are:

  1. Late Fees. The maximum late fee that an association can charge is $15.00 or ten percent (10%) of the amount due, whichever is greater.
  2. Property Transfer Fee. The maximum total amount that the association can charge related to the transfer of the property is $400.00. This amount can only be charged upon the successful closing of an escrow. Therefore, a property transferred without the employment of an escrow company is not subject to the transfer fee. (Note: if there are pre-paid or back-owed regular HOA dues to be paid at closing, those amounts are usually not covered by this limit.)
  3. Notice of Violation. Upon written request, within ten (10) business days from the date of a notice of violation, the association must provide the homeowner with certain information.

    This includes:

    1. the specific provision of the CC&Rs that are alleged to have been violated
    2. the first and last name of the person that reported the violation.
  4. Partial Payments. An HOA cannot refuse to accept a partial payment of the amounts owed to the association.

    The association must apply all payments to the member’s account. This must be done in the following order:

    1. Unpaid assessments
    2. Late fees
    3. Costs of collection
    4. Attorneys’ fees and costs.

The homeowner may also direct a payment to be applied to a certain specified item.

Replacing an Unreasonable Management Company

As a homeowner, you can lobby for the replacement of the current management company. If the company is overbearing, hiring a more reasonable one may help.

Licensing of HOA Management Companies

Unfortunately, there are no licensing requirements for HOA property managers.

This means that anyone can start a property management company for HOAs regardless of experience. And, as with any profession, some management companies are better than others.

Many times it is the property management company that is the one that is overbearing. Terminating the property management company may improve the culture of the community.

HOA Board Members

Usually, individual homeowners who serve on community boards are hard-working and well-meaning volunteers. They’re genuinely trying to create, maintain or re-create a great community for all homeowners.

Occasionally, problems are caused by an individual or a group of board members who are out of line.

Resolving Issues with an HOA

Whether the problem is the management company or the Board members themselves, the solution is a long-term project, not a short-term fix.

Replacing the management company takes time and you might need to be a member of the HOA Board to make this happen. At a minimum, you’ll need a group of homeowners willing to support the effort to replace the management company. HOAManagement.com has a list of companies by state.

Replacing individual HOA Board members also takes time. This is because you’ll need to launch your effort when there’s an open Board seat up for election. You’ll also need to find a candidate willing to run and serve.

Getting Legal Advice for Dealing with an HOA

Would you like more advice or advice personalized for your situation? We offer creative fee arrangements, including some types of flat fee billing.

We also offer some types of “pay-as-you-go” or “unbundled legal services.”

Learn more about those here, and then give us a call.

We’ll be happy to speak with you about handling your homeowners’ association problems.

For more information on homeowner’s association email or give us a call.